Philippines adopts new 10-year plan to develop maritime industry

Seafarers’ rights advocates are now busy going through the 10-year Maritime Industry Development Plan 2028 (MIDP), which was recently approved by the Ferdinand Marcos Jr administration February 8. The MIDP is the Philippines’ official national blueprint, with the aim of having a clearly defined and coordinated roadmap for the integrated development and strategic direction of the maritime industry.

The four-page Executive Order No. 55 was signed by executive secretary Lucas P. Bersamin on behalf of the president. In a statement, president Marcos said the adoption of the MIDP is urgent to “fully realize the potential of the Philippines as a maritime nation.”

According to the MIDP, a strong and reliable Philippine Merchant Fleet will address sea transport requirements in support of national development, which is in line with the government’s flagship economic campaign “AmBisyon Natin 2024” (Our Ambition 2024) of a strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life for all Filipinos.

The MIDP provides guidelines for government maritime institutions such as the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) who will adopt a system for the effective implementation, monitoring, and review of the MIDP and component programs. The component programs will focus on the improvement of domestic and international shipping, shipbuilding and ship repair industry, workforce, transport safety and security, and environmental sustainability. A MIDP Technical Board (TB), which will consist of representatives from MARINA and other government agencies, will be established to oversee the programs.

The MIDP also pushes for the implementation of sustainable innovation, digital transformation, the setting up of a knowledge center, and the adoption of an effective and efficient maritime administration governance system. The MIDP mandates all government agencies to align and harmonize their policies and courses of action to the national plan.

Sonia Malaluan, administrator, MARINA, who presented the MIDP 2028 to Marcos in January, said the plan outlined a comprehensive 10-point agenda which will steer the maritime sector towards better efficiency. The key focus areas included the digitalization of the agency’s frontline services nationwide; the certification of MARINA’s core processes under ISO 9001:2015 standards for quality management system; ensuring strong collaboration and partnership with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and other key agencies; and preparation for the Philippine compliance with the 2023 IMO Strategy on the Reduction of GHG Emissions from Ships.

In support of the MIDP, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said maritime agencies and stakeholders in the private sector should coordinate their efforts with the provisions of the MIDP to maximize the potential of the blue economy. Secretary Jaime Bautista, DOTr, urged all government maritime agencies, including the Philippine Coast Guard, MARINA, Philippine Ports Authority, Philippine Merchant Marine Academy, and Cebu Port Authority, and private sector players to align their projects and programs with the national plan.

Photo credit: iStock/ SunnyVMD

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